On August 1, 1950, Eric James Kennedy was born to Wilbur Kennedy and Joyce Freda Card Kennedy in Long Beach, California. Both Wilbur and Joyce were grocery clerks.1 Eric grew up with his three siblings, Steve, Holly, and Kelley.2 His dad died in 1953.3 His mom got remarried to John B. Phillips, who was abusive to Eric during his childhood. Eric was hospitalized at the age of nine for possible skull fracture injuries along with bruises and welts all over his body. His stepdad had beat him with a stick after breaking two wood paddles.4 Neighbors heard Eric’s cries and called the police.
Eric graduated high school and made a career for himself. Eric joined the Marine Corp in 1969 and served in the Vietnam War. Eric married Debra Pollack in 1970.5 Eric and Debra had two daughters, Erica and Sara. They later had three grandchildren named Noah, Mya, and Aiden.6
After Vietnam, Eric remained in the Marine Corps and was stationed at the 8th and I barracks located in Washington D.C.7 Marines stationed at 8th and I work on marching drills and infantry skills.8 Following D.C. he was stationed in San Diego as a drill instructor at the Marine Recruit Depot. He was also a Marine liaison in Europe and at the Rock Island Arsenal. He was an ammunition officer and earned the rank of major.9 Eric had a long career in the Marine Corps and earned the National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal, Meritorious Unit Commendation, Good Conduct Medal, and Commendation Medal.. He retired from the Marine Corps in 1992.
After the Marines, Eric worked as a program analyst at the Rock Island Arsenal for sixteen years.10 Eric had many interests and hobbies. He was a National Rifle Association (NRA) member.11 The NRA is an organization in America that supports gun rights and the second amendment.12 He also enjoyed motorcycles and owned a Harley Davidson. He liked to watch sports and had Mallards and Flames season tickets. Lastly, he was known to be a “Parrot Head.”13 A Parrot Head is a fan of the singer, Jimmy Buffett.14
Eric attended Edgewood Baptist Church, in Rock Island.
Eric passed away on August 8, 2009, in the Rock Island Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. He was buried in The Rock Island National Cemetery on the Rock Island Arsenal, the place where he had worked for sixteen years.15
14 “Silver National Team- Parrot Heads in Paradise Inc.” Alzheimer’s Association. n.d.